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A brief & concise guide to being a good passenger
#1. Don’t ask for rides. Cars are expensive, very expensive. “paying for gas” isn’t anywhere close to covering the actual expense of driving you. My room mate’s car, for example, cost about $25K brand new, and is expected to last approximately 200,000 miles. This works out to 12 cents per mile, and we haven’t even touched on gas. Next come registration and insurance. Um, let’s see… they charged him for the title… he has to pay an excise tax every year… the tires last anywhere from 35K to 50K miles… times 12 at more than $120 each… regular maintenance (brakes, oil changes, filters)… repairs (the last one came to $390)… throw in some tolls… parking meters… garages… the occasional ticket… the average car cost well over $1 each and every mile. The gas comes to something like 15 cents a mile — LESS THAN THE COST OF USE — so don’t think for one minute that you’re being generous offering gas money.
#2. Sit in the front. The person driving you is supposed to be a friend, not an employee. Unless someone else is taking up the front seat, or you are asked to sit in the back, always sit up front. Live out your “Driving Ms. Daisy” fantasy elsewhere.
#3. Under no circumstances should a decent human being ever touch the stereo without asking first. This goes double if you are unfamiliar with it. As an example, one time I picked up a friend who leaped into the car and immediately decided to change the radio station. Of course, she was utterly clueless as to how to operate it, so all she managed to do was adjust the balance/tone/etc, and not in a good way.
#4. If you’re outside the car and trying to get in, if for some reason the door handle will not work then stop trying. The car is an inanimate object. It can not feel pain. You can not bully it into subservience.
I have two examples here.
One of my room mate’s first cars was an old wreck, as is common enough. He lent it to a friend — a woman — who tried the handle and for whatever reason it wouldn’t work. One might imagine that something inside the door had broken or become detached. Anyone, the totally insane way to handle this situation would have been to walk on over to the passenger side, open THAT door, reach across to the drivers door and give it a try from the inside. The “Common Sense” approach was to repeatedly try and force the door handle to function by yanking on it harder & harder.
I’m not kidding here: When my room mate got his car back the metal handle looked like it had torn. The metal looked like it had been torn. This was a “Big Boned” girl who borrowed it, and she must have thrown all her weight into trying to bully a door handle into working. The end result was that a simple and quick repair turned into something a great deal more involved…
A second example involved a friend of mine (coincidentally, also a girl) who I was dropping off. She got out of the car, I threw it into reverse from park and started to back up when she suddenly realized that she had forgotten something inside the car. Now, this car automatically engages the door locks when you throw it into gear, so the door was locked. She responded to this by repeatedly (and rather wildly) yanking on the door handle. I screamed. I literally screamed. Yes, partly because I knew about my room mate’s experience from the early days, and partly because I wanted to kill her and I figured that screaming, though a distant second in satisfaction, would at least keep me out of jail.
#5 Never smoke, drink or eat in a car unless you ask. Never allow your kids to eat or drink anything, not even candy or gum, without asking. Anything can drop or spill.
There has never been a kid born who is incapable of dropping, spilling, staining & sticking things to any surface. Please don’t pretend that yours is the first child ever who is incapable of making a mess. And smoking in a car is not just obnoxious but often dangerous. There have been countless cars built which will only guarantee that any cigarette or ash flicked out a window will be blown back into the car. Volkswagens were particularly notorious for this.
I had a friend (yes, another female) who threw her cigarette out the window of a moving car only to have it blow back inside and land between her back and the car seat. She burned both her jacket and the car seat.
#6. Never ask. Don’t ask if you can smoke in someone’s car, unless they smoke. Don’t ask if your kids can eat and/or drink in the car. If you do you’re putting the driver on the spot. Don’t do that to a friend. Wait until you get out to light up or pig out.
#7. Never put your feet up on the dashboard or the seats. Seriously, this goes beyond common sense.
#8. Don’t move things. If you’re getting in the front and there’s objects/papers on the seat, ask the driver to move them. Don’t assume that you know what they are, don’t assume that you have a firm grasp of their importance. Just ask the driver to move them.
#9. Treat the heat and air conditioning controls the same way you would the stereo: Don’t touch them without asking. Again, this is doublely important if you’re not familiar with them.
#10. Most important: Don’t touch the driver. You want to give me a hug? Fine. Wait until we’re stopped. And, no, tickling isn’t fun inside a ton of steel barreling down the road. And I don’t care how much you think someone deserves to be hit, don’t touch the driver. It’s not just your life and their life, it’s the lives of everyone sharing that road with you.
This is George Zimmerman.
We as a community need to put a face with the name. Everyone needs to see what this sociopath, white supremacist, child murderer looks like.
I hate to be the one to say it, but….
What we’re witnessing here is the lynch mob mentality.
It’s a given that this case will go to a grand jury. Seriously. How can anyone be capable of doubting it? It will go to a grand jury.
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